‘It Follows’ takes a leaf from several classic horror movies. Capturing the feel of a 1970’s/80’s film, the cheap budget doesn’t equate to cheap thrills. Crafted with ghoulish care, ‘It Follows’ discards the easy CGI option by aiming for unsettling scares. It is a testament to the spooky quality for which it strives that it does so well. The genre has its detractors but kudos has to be given to films that mostly get it right. ‘It Follows’ more than fits the bill for chillingly good viewing.
Teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) enjoys life and a good relationship with her boyfriend. After having sex, he reveals a dark secret. Shocked by his revelation, Jay is soon plagued by strange visions and a feeling someone is following her. Helped by her friends, she determines to uncover the mystery. Soon her world descends into a horrific spiral with death’s door looming large on her horizon.
Free of endless blood and gore, ‘It Follows’ relies on authentic eeriness. Although not consistently scary, it has an undercurrent of true tension refusing to subside. Exploiting the ‘have sex and die’ motif from many horror movies, the script cleverly uses the teenager’s sexual natures against them. The stalking menace they face serves as a warning of impending doom. Much can be read into what the screenplay is saying, making the viewer think as well as being on the edge of their seat.
David Robert Mitchell directs with confident assurance, milking much from the somewhat thin premise. Whilst enjoyably creepy, ‘It Follows’ could have used more exposition. Some moments don’t quite fit into the narrative which could have helped in making ‘It Follows’ a more rounded experience. Coupled with generally excellent performances, the cinematography and thumping synth-based score aid immeasurably to the atmosphere of pure dread.
‘It Follows’ is a satisfying spooky movie mostly delivering on its promise. Almost like a breath of fresh air after the glut of excessive techno-infused scary flicks, the low-tech feel it embraces gives hope more will follow its foreboding lead.
Rating out of 10: 7
Romance movies are one of the hardest genres to pull off. Making the basic ‘boy meets girl’ motif interesting is difficult. Many have attempted to deliver a rousing romantic tale and instead fall into a forgettable heap. ‘The Longest Ride’ firmly places itself among this pile. Whilst competently acted with some interesting story points, the latest Nicholas Sparks novel adaption barely registers.
Former champion bull rider Luke (Scott Eastwood) is looking for a comeback. Meeting college student Sophia (Britt Robertson), her encouragement drives Luke towards success. As their romance and careers blossom, fate deals them another unexpected hand. An elderly hospital patient Ira (Alan Alda) own past mirrors the newly connected lovers. What Ira says changes their world proving love can transcend any obstacles.
The millions of Nicholas Sparks readers will probably enjoy ‘The Longest Ride’. They’ll know what to expect with pretty people, picturesque scenery and a soft rock soundtrack in place. This formula is as old as cinema although it’s doubtful ‘The Longest Ride’ will endure in the memory. Eastwood and Robertson display the crucial genuine chemistry. Coupled with a story mostly steeped in realism exploring love and sacrifice, ‘The Longest Ride’ isn’t quite a lost cause.
The completely far-fetched ending ruins it. The way the character’s problems are instantly resolved defies belief destroying every shred of plot credibility. Until then ‘The Longest Ride’ seemed to be going somewhere despite being a generally listless experience. The lazy direction by George Tillman Jnr often works against the performances and vague dashes of intrigue. It’s also sad seeing Alda slumming it in the ‘wise elderly man’ role with his success in M.A.S.H. seemingly a distant memory.
Lumbered with an atrocious ending and predictable plotting, ‘The Longest Ride’ is less than engrossing. Romance fiction has recently nose-dived with this production proving more work is needed to conjure an authentic romantic cinema experience.
Rating out of 10: 3